CHICAGO — Chicago Bulls star Zach LaVine said he and coach Billy Donovan are “all good” and he won’t blow a game out of proportion after LaVine’s issue with not hitting down the stretch of Friday’s 108-107 loss. want to do Orlando Magic.
LaVine, a two-time All-Star, scored four points on 1-of-14 shooting Friday before being sent to the bench for the final 3 minutes, 43 seconds as Chicago lost its fourth straight game. LaVine expressed his displeasure over the decision that night, but cleared the air with Donovan during practice the next day.
“I told him I feel like I’ve earned the right to go out there and play through a bad game,” LaVine said after practice on Sunday. “His decision was to try to do the best thing for the team, which I respect. If we had won, obviously, I would have been happy. We lost, I wasn’t. I had a terrible game.
“But it’s one game, man. I don’t want to blow it out of proportion to the point where we’re talking about losses where we’ve had a lot of losses this year. We’ve got a lot of games left in this year.” We are all good I think he understands where I’m coming from and I understand that as a coach it’s a tough decision for him to make, even if your players don’t agree.
Donovan said he took no issue with LaVine — who signed a five-year, $215 million max contract in the offseason — wanting to be on the floor during crunch time, but he stuck to his decision that he felt They need it to try and win Friday’s game.
“I completely understand his competitiveness and his desire to win and be out there,” Donovan said on Sunday. “He should. I think all great players want to be able to do that.
“I realized in that moment that it was what was best for the team. And I think he knows that I will always try to put the team first and do what’s best for the team. I also appreciate his perspective, his opinion.” I respect.” He thought he needed to stay out, which was best for the team.”
After falling behind by 19 points in the first half, the Bulls came back to take the lead in the fourth quarter with LaVine on the bench. According to research by ESPN Stats & Info, he had not scored that few points since March 2018 and was the worst shooting game of his career (minimum 10 shots).
However, in the final seconds of the game, Bulls center Nikola Vucevic missed a pair of free throws that sealed the victory and allowed Magic guard Jalen Suggs to hit the game-winning 3-pointer.
LaVine said, “That second unit, the other guys he brought in, did a great job of getting back in the game and it was a very win-win situation.” “I told [Donovan] At least throw me free. I feel like I could have at least helped seal the game with a free throw and get the ball in range. No matter who I’m playing, I’m one of the best players on the court, and I think I should be on the court in times of crisis, and that’s my mindset.”
Donovan said he understood LaVine’s point about the late-game free throw position, even though he wasn’t sure it would matter if Vucevic is shooting a career-high 87.8% from the line this season. Will have to
Nevertheless, both Donovan and LaVine pointed to the strength of their relationship and their continued communication with each other as they aimed to move forward from the incident.
“Whenever you’re in a very competitive environment, there’s always going to be frustration or disappointment or people getting upset,” Donovan said. “But I always feel like I can say anything to Zach and I feel like he can say anything to me.”
LaVine said: “Me and Billy have a good relationship. We talk all the time. I think he understands, we’re grown men, this is a grown man’s business. There’s going to be rough days. Like any sport or any business, you’re not going to agree on every decision that’s made. So you talk about it, you move on from it and you understand where the other side is coming from.”